Lamas at Kathok Gonpa

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Lingtrul Rinpoche is the reincarnation of Ling Lama Chökyi Dorje, and thus is an emanation of Vimalamitra and Longchenpa. He is the 8th head of Tra Ling, a Kathok Monastery in Golok, Tibet.

He was born in Amdo-Golok in 1955 to a well-endowed family. At the age of 3 he was recognized as the incarnation of Ling Lama Chökyi Dorje by many great lamas in the Golok area. But due to the Chinese occupation of Tibet, his identity was kept secret.

As a young tulku, Lingtrul Rinpoche was forced to work in labor camps and hide any sign of interest in Buddhism. In 1983 the Chinese government lifted the restrictions on religious practice, and Lingtrul Rinpoche was able to meet with his root teacher, the great Khenpo Munsel.

The lineage of the Clear Light Great Perfection teachings began with the Dharmakaya Buddha and was passed gradually from teacher to disciple, through Khenpo Munsel to Lingtrul Rinpoche. As one of Khenpo Munsel’s closest heart sons, Lingtrul Rinpoche received all the transmissions of the Clear Light Great Perfection over a period of 3-4 years. In retreat he practiced all the development stages of the Vajrayana from the preliminary practices through Trekchöd and Todgyal. He also received all of the Longchen Nyingthig transmissions as well as many other empowerments.

At the age of 37, Lingtrul Rinpoche journeyed to central Tibet, Nepal and India to visit the great power spots in these holy lands. While in Sikkim he was imprisoned for 6 months and then rescued by H.H. Dodrubchen Rinpoche. Shortly thereafter he was invited to the United States.

Lingtrul Rinpoche presently maintains residences at Tra Ling Monastery in Golok, at Kathok Gonpa in Oakland, California and at Kathok Gonpa in Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada.

Lama Tenzin Tsundu is a student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He lives in Courtenay and is generous with his time and energy by leading practices at Kathok Gonpa, particularly Chenrezi and Tara. Lama Tsundu also holds teachings and practices in the Courtenay area. He and his wife Sherry Matson can be reached at the Pure Land Gift Shop on Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay, (250) 338-7552.

Tenzin Tsundu fled Tibet as an infant with his mother and sister. While on route his 4-year old sister died of exposure to the severe weather in the high mountain passes between Tibet and Sikkim – a common fate of Tibetans trying to find sanctuary outside their homeland. At the age of 8 he entered Sakya Monastery and then later entered Namgyal Monastery (the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama). He remained there for 27 years studying Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan writing, sand mandala, ritual dance, butter sculpture and meditation. His extensive studies earned him the title of Master of Buddhist Sutra and Tantra in 1992.

Since arriving in Canada in 1993, Lama Tsundu has lived in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. He teaches in a unique, simple style, referring to himself as our friend, who shares the Dharma with us.

Lama Jhampa Shaneman is a western lama who presently travels between Mexico and the Kootenays. Jhampa spent 13 years in India studying with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and with his root teacher, Geshe Ngawang Dhargaye. Jhampa was very generous with his time in helping Kathok Gonpa to get established, especially in the beginning – Jhampa acted as our main translator and organized work parties to help with construction. Lama Jhampa and his students and friends are building a retreat center in the Kootenays. Maria Shaneman continues to sponsor the Thubten Choling Dharma centre in Duncan where her daughter Aimee and son-in-law Pema provide translation for visiting lamas.

Eric Forgeng first came to Canada in 2000 to translate for Gyatrul Rinpoche’s teaching visit to Kathok Gonpa. We are fortunate that Eric has chosen to reside in Port Alberni with his wife Jackie. Eric provides ongoing translation at Kathok Gonpa, as well as for visiting lamas across North America.

Longchen Nyingthig Lineage at Kathok Gonpa

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The Longchen Nyingthig (Innermost-essence of Longchenpa) teachings are “a collection of tantras and sadhanas revealed by Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798) as ‘mind ter’ teachings”. These were received in pure visions of Longchenpa (MMM, pp. 41-43).

The lineage itself begins with Kuntu Zangpo, the Primordial Buddha, and passes through an unbroken line of transmission to our present teachers as follows

Kuntu Zangpo, the Dharmakaya (MMM Ch. 1)

Vajrasattva, the Sambhogakaya (MMM Ch.2)

Garab Dorje, a Nirmanakaya (MMM Ch. 4) and the first human master of Dzogpa Chenpo.

Manjushrimitra (Jampel Shenyen) (MMM Ch. 5) studied with Garab Dorje for 75 years and then taught dakinis in charnel grounds for another 109 years. He classified the 6 million verses of Dzogpa Chenpo into Semde (the way the mind dwells), Longde (freedom from effort), and Me-ngagde (essential points).

Shri Singha (MMM Ch. 6) traveled like the wind 2 feet above the ground to meet Manjushrimitra in the Sosadvipa charnel ground. There he received teachings for 25 years, and passed them on to Jnanasutra, Vimalamitra, Vairochana and Guru Padmasambhava.

Jnanasutra (MMM Ch. 7) received Shri Singha’s final testament, The Seven Nails. As well he received the elaborate, simple, very simple, and utmost simple empowerments and teachings from him. These he passed to Vimalamitra.

Vimalamitra (MMM Ch. 8) studied with Shri Singha for 20 years in China. He received Jnanasutra’s final testament, The Four Methods of Contemplation, as well as receiving instructions directly from Garab Dorje in seven pure visions. He worked with a team of Tibetan translators for 13 years at the invitation of King Trisong Detsen. He then departed for Wu Tai Shan, the Five-Peak-Mountain in China. Having attained the rainbow body of great transformation, Vimalamitra can still be encountered by students with pure vision visiting Wu Tai Shan.

Guru Padmasambhava (MMM Ch. 9) was born miraculously in Uddiyana. He subdued the hostile gods and demons of Tibet and consecrated the entire country as a place of practice. Guru Padma stayed in Tibet establishing the Dharma for 56 years, before departing for his Pure Land, the Copper Colored Mountain. For those who say his mantra, OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUNG, he is instantly present.

The Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal (MMM Ch. 9) was Guru Padmasambhava’s principal consort. Yeshe Tsogyal had perfect memory and was entrusted by Guru Padma with hiding many teachings to be discovered in later generations as terma.

Longchen Rabjampa (Longchenpa) (MMM Ch. 10) was transmission holder of the Vima Nyingthig and Khandro Nyingthig teachings. Preserving the human lineage, Longchenpa received transmission from Rigdzin Kumaradza and Shö Gyalse, but he also received these Nyingthig teachings and empowerments directly from Vimalamitra and Guru Padmasambhava in pure visions. He received teachings and transmissions from all Buddhist lineages present in Tibet in his time, and all the streams of Dzogpa Chenpo converged in him. He wrote more than 250 treatises on Dzogpa Chenpo and Nyingthig, many of which were mind ter. In his spiritual testament he encouraged his thousands of students to practice and realize the nature of mind and phenomena at this very moment.

Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa (MMM Ch. 11) was a tulku of both King Trisong Detsen and Vimalamitra. He discovered the Longchen Nyingthig teachings when a Dharmakaya Dakini awakened the mind ter given to him by Guru Rinpoche many centuries before. The highest realization of Dzogpa Chenpo was awakened in him by three pure visions of Longchenpa. He had many famous disciples, all of whom were equally great adepts, and the Longchen Nyingthig lineage became one of the most popular schools in the Nyingma tradition.

Jigme Gyalwe Nyuku (MMM Ch. 13) experienced all of his feelings dissolving into joy when he met his root lama, Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa. Himself an example of pure devotion to the Dharma, Jigme Gyalwe Nyuku followed his Lama’s advice and devoted the latter part of his life to giving the Longchen Nyingthig and other teachings and empowerments to any devout and sincere students who came to him.

Patrul Rinpoche (MMM Ch. 19), a tulku of Jigme Lingpa, was known for his simple living and outrageous teaching style. He authored The Words of My Perfect Teacher, an extensive commentary on the Longchen Nyingthig preliminary practices.

Lungtok Tenpe Nyima (MMM Ch. 22) was one of the greatest masters of Dzogpa Chenpo in the Longchen Nyingthig lineage, and the greatest realized disciple of Patrul Rinpoche.

Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro at Kathok Gonpa

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Ngondro (pronounced ‘nundro’) means preparatory practices. These practices prepare a student for Dzogpa Chenpo transmissions, for swift (three-month) accomplishment of shiné single-pointedness, and for a three-year retreat to accomplish one’s Yidam (special tutelary deity) practice. The Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro is itself a complete path to enlightenment as well.

Ngondro is practiced Wednesday evenings at 7:00 PM at Kathok Gonpa, as well as being the main practice of individual students. This involves at least the eventual completion of 100,000 repetitions of each of the following

Prostrations – bowing full-length on the floor to honor Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, Lama, Yidam, Dakini, Channels, Winds, Essences, and Awakening itself.

Taking Refuge Generating Bodhichitta, the heart of enlightenment